Hey guys. I need some help frm more knowledgeable people....

I am looking for a christmas present for someone who is a musician, plays multiple instruments including LSDJ, is into DIY stuff and is even getting into building his own synths now.

Since he has a C64 and an Atari that he still didn't get to use for his music (even though he wants to) I was thinking about getting him some piece of hardware/software, maybe some cart that would get him started in that department. If we would get started with a new instrument, I can imagine that he would want to connect it to his setup rather to have it as a stand alone thing.

Through my research I found the Cynthcart and the MSSIAH. Also found the Synthcart for the Atari. Are they any good or are there better tools?
Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I saw the Cynthcart and the Synthcart seem a bit limited except for live, hands on playing. The MSSIAH looked like something he could fiddle around for quite some time but some threads leave me to believe there are better ways to get music out of your C64 tongue

Is there something you can you recommend? Any fun tools around that I have overlooked? Any insight on this stuff would be awesome.

Thanks in advance smile

I used to own a MSSIAH, it's a nice piece of kit and it has a built-in MIDI input, which makes it even more useful. I sold it when I built me a SammichSID, but do regret that now. The piano-roll based "DAW" inside MSSIAH needs a mouse to work though (keep that in mind), though there is some adapters which let you use a regular PC mouse. The monosynth application is nice, but the interface can be a bit messy, since you need a joystick to interact with it (why not use a mouse for that one as well).
As for cynthcart, I've got that as well. Pretty fun, but nowhere near the complexity of MSSIAH. You could also consider a SD2IEC device, so your friend could load any C64 software. I've got one from these guys here and it works like a charm: http://www.manosoft.it/
But there's a lot of other options out there of course!

very useful! Thanks rumplefilter! I'll look into the SD2IEC too.

Yea, I thought the multiple instruments of the MSSIAH and the MIDI input would make it a fun thing to start getting into the c64 for starters. Maybe it is a good option. He would probably go crazy with any of this things, I just want to make sure it will trigger some creativity.


you're welcome. I guess you can't really go wrong with any of these. Also the MSSIAH might be easier to get than a Cynthcart cart. The SD2IEC solution might be a bit less plug&play than a cart, but then it will open the door to all sorts of other software, like the excellent SIDwizard!

Rip the sound chip out of the atari, get a teensy board and  make a TIA synth. The gods require sacrifice. Or check out the pc based TIAtracker on some other thread here... maybe get a harmony cart and transfer those files to it so u can play them on hardware...idk how that all goes. I don't have one.
Cynthcart is cool for recording and layering. Even a simple looper pedal.  Midi cc's make it crazy if you like.
Mssiah Is cool for all of the different apps. Also setting up 3 different sounds on seperate midi channels to play live or record. 6 sounds If you want to dual SID the beast. For the mouse problem, The best mouse converter is a micromys v4. Use any old ps/2 mouse.
The SD2IEC is the way to go. Run a native tracker or transfer SIDs from pc based tracker. And just for listening to RAD SIDs and playing Zak McKracken  and the alien mindbenders, Zork (all of the infocom titles), and wasteland!

Last edited by oscillating (Dec 6, 2016 6:58 am)

thanks guys. Any recommendations where and which sd2iec? manosoft guys are out of stock